Sanskrit

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Sanskrit (संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam [sə̃skɹ̩t̪əm], originally संस्कृता वाक् saṃskṛtā vāk, "refined speech"), is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and Buddhism.[note 1] Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India[2] and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand.[3]

Classical Sanskrit is the standard register as laid out in the grammar of Pāṇini, around the 4th century BCE. Its position in the cultures of Greater India is akin to that of Latin and Greek in Europe and it has significantly influenced most modern languages of the Indian subcontinent, particularly in India, Pakistan and Nepal.[4]

The pre-Classical form of Sanskrit is known as Vedic Sanskrit, with the language of the Rigveda being the oldest and most archaic stage preserved, its oldest core dating back to as early as 1500 BCE.[5] This qualifies Rigvedic Sanskrit as one of the oldest attestations of any Indo-Iranian language, and one of the earliest attested members of the Indo-European language family, the family which includes English and most European languages.[6]

The corpus of Sanskrit literature encompasses a rich tradition of poetry and drama as well as scientific, technical, philosophical and Hindu religious texts. Sanskrit continues to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals in the forms of hymns and mantras. Spoken Sanskrit is still in use in a few traditional institutions in India and there are many attempts at revival.

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